Manila, 2 others complete softball romp
CLARK FREEPORT—Softball remains the Philippines’ exclusive domain in the Asia Pacific and Middle East Little League Championships here.
The host country completed a sweep of all four divisions with Manila, Laguna and Iloilo pummeling their Guam counterparts yesterday to clinch World Series berths at Clark Parade Grounds.
Reigning World Series champion Manila reigned supreme in the Big League 16-18 division, after a 13-1 regulation victory over Guam.
Laguna scored a narrow 4-3 triumph to finish the Senior League 14-16 tournament unbeaten, while Iloilo also dumped Guam, 18-9, for the Junior League 13-14 division.
The victories ensured that the Philippines will represent Asia-Pacific in all four divisions of the softball World Series next month in the United States, including Iloilo, which earlier topped the Little League 11-12 division.
The Philippines remains in contention for one more title in Senior League baseball, where International Little League Association of Manila will dispute the crown against Saipan today.
“This is what we’ve really been preparing for and targeting from the start,” said Manila coach Ana Santiago. “We want to return to the US to defend our (worth) title, especially this year when the tournament (Big League World Series) relocates to Delaware.”
Santiago only had three holdovers from the team that won the World Series crown last year in Kalamazoo, Michigan. But it hardly mattered as the Manila girls still proved too strong, going unbeaten in four matches in the three-team tournament.
A six-run explosion right in the fourth inning highlighted by a grand slam from Gelyn Lamata put the game away for Manila, 11-1.
Lamata, who will make her first World Series appearance since the 2008 Little League, went three-for-four at bat, driving home five runs for Manila, which peppered Guam with 15 hits.
Laguna needed a solid performance from pitcher Gaesel Dilay, who struck out the last two batters at the top of the seventh inning to preserve the lead for Lorena Bernardino’s charges.
Meanwhile, Chinese-Taipei nipped Muntinlupa, 10-1, to nail the Big League baseball title, while Japan beat Guam, 7-3, to rule the inaugural 50/70 intermediate division of the event.
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